BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The Nets were in a tight game against the Boston Celtics this past Friday. Kenny Atkinson tried to insert Jeremy Lin into the game with six minutes left in the fourth, but there were no stoppages in play until the 2:52 mark as the Nets trailed by six. Boston had momentum after Jae Crowder finished an and-one dunk and forced Atkinson’s hand.
The Nets had three timeouts and a few fouls to give, so the question was: why wasn’t the best finisher out there earlier to close out the game? The always humble Atkinson said he liked the way his group was playing, but probably should’ve found a way to Lin into the game earlier.
“I felt like that group was playing well. As for the Jeremy (Lin) thing, obviously we do have a plan for him in terms of minutes in a back-to-back. With that being said, he was sitting at the table and I went back and forth asking ‘do we get him in... do we try to call a timeout and get him in?’ Being the coach I wanted the timeout, which we ended up needing at the end of the game so it was a tough one.”
However, Atkinson - a rookie coach and Lin’s biggest supporter - believes he should’ve done something to get his finisher on the court earlier.
“You know looking back at it, in hindsight, I probably should’ve gotten him in. That’s kind of my conclusion. In hindsight I probably should’ve gotten him in while he was sitting at the table. That was a long time without a stoppage and usually in the NBA something happens. Great lesson for me if that happens to come up again.”
Judging from the past coaches in Brooklyn, Atkinson’s transparency is rare ... and welcome. And, he is a rookie coach. He’s still learning too.
You can listen to Kenny Atkinson’s full audio here.